It was never going to end well for our Uncle Bob, was it? Like him, probably, I was napping when the coup took place. You wait your whole life, literally if you are my age, to see this era come to an end and what happens? The army gets to it while you nod off a little bit. Looks like we both missed the party on the streets of Zimbabwe.
So having waited a lifetime to learn some lessons from the old man and his experience, and having wallowed in Zimbabwe articles for the past couple days, allow me to offer a listicle that I have distilled … in-between gentle snoozes.
Lesson one: So you did something great. You’re still just a human.
This is a good one, especially for those who are plagued by the one or two achievements of their lives. Also for all the apologists for decayed despots who run around being superbly annoying about it.
Robert Mugabe was a hero back in his hey-day. There’s nowhere on the continent that you can go and mention his name without somebody telling you about his greatness. He was, in a nutshell, great. My favourite thing was paradoxically his command of the English language. Being able to intelligently and stylishly diss your most intimate enemy for decades in their own mother tongue? Especially when they couldn’t possibly hope to return the favour? Boss.
— Alan (@alanhood77) November 22, 2017
But time happens to everybody. Mugabe did good things. Then he got comfortable with power. Then he forgot how to human. Then he did not-great things. Oh look: he’s just a guy after all … who knew? Actually, every single person who ever wrote a piece of literature about every single overstaying despot in every part of the world since the beginning of the written word, ever. Watching Uncle Bob slide into a cliche was a painful process, and a tediously obvious lesson in life: So you did something great once? Good for you. You’re still human. Stick with the programme and attend your meetings just like the rest of us.